This was not what I had planned for my first December posting. I had planned to make a wonderful cheesecake to share. As a matter of fact, the cheesecake has already been baked, the posting written. It was just a matter of garnishing the cake and taking the final photographs. The cake is in the fridge as we speak, awaiting those final touches. Since I had planned to bring it into the office to share, I wanted to put the little “tops” onto the bites the following morning, snap that last picture and then post.
Before that could happen, my phone rang. I don’t know about you, but we typically don’t get phone calls late in the evening. Both my cell phone and house phone were ringing, wakening the entire house. Not a good sign.
For those of you who have been following my little adventure into blogging (thank you); then you’ve probably seen Stuffing Stuffed Meatloaf – A Great Idea for After the Turkey Day. You already know that our Thanksgiving this year didn’t turn out as planned. My brother’s battle with cancer was not going well and the family Thanksgiving gathering had been canceled as he was not up to a big family get together. Hubby, Kiddo and I drove out to my sister’s home in the country on Friday. Brother Dear was thin, tired but alert, and full of smiles. (He has been under in-home Hospice care; wishing to die at home and not in a hospital). Our visit was good. We held hands, talked, joked and said our goodbyes. On the drive home, we even remarked as to how good Brother Dear looked, all things expected. Yet I couldn’t shake a strangely comforting feeling that I had said a final goodbye. Our mother is no longer with us, having gone on to a better place over twenty years ago. When I held my brother’s hand for the last time, I sensed a connection with Mom, as though she were in the room with us, standing at his side, holding his hand as well. And I knew, the time was very near. He would be joining her soon.
My darling Brother passed in his sleep on Tuesday, with his favorite cat curled up at his feet and our younger sister at his side. She has been with him throughout this entire ordeal, putting her own life on hold to make sure Brother Dear was comfortable as he prepared to leave this world. In the pouring rain as lightning lit up a dark night’s sky, Hubby, Kiddo and I made the drive out to the country for one last goodbye. He is at peace now, the battle is behind him. To say he fought a gallant fight and lost would be to deny the fact that we all must pass from this life to the next. He fought to stay as long as he could with us, until the time came to be called home. He was a gentle soul, with a heart as big as all outdoors. His generosity and compassion for all living things knew no bounds.
When we left our sister’s home at a little after midnight to make the somber drive home, we took with us a “care” package. My sister had packed up a few things from her cupboards, things she had bought for our picky-eater brother that her family would not be eating. In the bag were snack crackers and a box of Stove Top Stuffing. Brother Dear was King of the Picky-Eaters. Keep it simple, and above all else, never serve anything “green”. Corn was about the only vegetable he would ever eat.
In honor of my darling Brother, I made a simple baked chicken for dinner, served with his favorite Stove-Top Stuffing and no green in sight. We gave thanks for the time the Good Lord gave us as a family, and raised our forks of stuffing to Heaven, knowing that he was smiling down.
These breasts are baked with a simple seasoning, and no breading. They are cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. The result is a breast that is packed with flavor, and unbelievably moist. I chose to use Mrs. Dash Seasoning mix. You could use just about any dried seasoning combination such as onion powder, garlic powder or lemon pepper. Be sure to let chicken rest for about 10 minutes after removing from oven for their natural juices to settle.
Seasoned Chicken Bake
6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
6 Tablespoons Mrs. Dash Seasoning
3 Tablespoons Sweet Paprika
Olive Oil Spray
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts. Set aside.
On a flat plate, sprinkle 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Seasoning with ½ tablespoon paprika. Spread out thinly on the plate.
Lightly spray chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil. Working with one breast at a time, press breast onto the plate of seasoning to lightly coat. Turn breast over, press other side. Place breast onto a shallow, rimmed baking sheet.
Repeat with 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Seasoning and ½ tablespoon paprika for each breast, spreading seasoning on the plate.
Place chicken into the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn breast over; continue to bake another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. While breasts are resting, make sides (such as Stove-Top Stuffing).
Uncover chicken, place on individual plates, slice and serve with Stove-Top on the side.
NOTE: For more flavorful stuffing, use Chicken Stock in place of water. Yum!